The city’s new Extreme Weather Shelter will be safer and more secure for the homeless after council approved a couple of improvements to the shelter at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Along with a storage unit, council approved supplying two lamps to brighten up the area next to the downtown fire hall. The city already had a number of lamp standards in storage and the city’s electrical contractor offered to donate materials and labour valued at $1,600 if the city provided the lamps.
Dave Morris, the city’s general manager of facilities and supply management, and Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, wrote in a joint report to council that the required infrastructure was also readily available.
“When Fire Hall No. 1 parking lot was refurbished two years ago, two lamp standard bases were installed at the southern edge of the lot along with conduit to the fire hall building, with a view to installing lighting sometime in the future,” Morris and Blackwell wrote.
Council gave the go-ahed to hooking up the lighting system and installing 30 amp ancillary power in one of the lamp standards to allow the shelter’s batteries to be re-charged on a weekly basis.
As for the storage shed, council agreed to allow Radiant Life Church, which operates the shelter, to place a storage unit nearby to store the client’s personal belongings for the night.
The only stipulation being that the shed sit on the east side of the fenced property.
“The rationale…in seeing the fenced area, I’m assuming the storage shed will be within the fenced area and not external to it,” said Coun. Andy Adams. “By putting it on the east side, is to have the shed where people would come and enter (the Dogwood Street entrance) and not on the back side of the property.”
The Extreme Weather Shelter is a low-barrier shelter for the homeless who may be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The shelter, which is a heated trailer made from a steel shipping container, houses up to 16 people with two people per one unit.
Clients using the shelter are given sandwiches and coffee in the evening, a pair of warm pyjamas, and a warm breakfast in the morning served at Radiant Life Church. The shelter is open every night from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. until March 31, 2014 and is staffed throughout the night.